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Masaryk Station    by David Downing order for
Masaryk Station
by David Downing
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

It has been a long journey that encompassed six novels but John Russell's life as a double agent working in Berlin after the end of World War II has finally come to an end. Using his cover as a journalist Russell has worked for both U.S. and Russian intelligence but his bond with his Soviet handler is perhaps the closest thing he has come to a friendship with any of his employers.

Set in the days leading up to the isolation of Berlin and the advent of the airlift to keep the Allied sections of the city supplied with the necessities, Russell and his Soviet liaison, Yevgeny Shcheplkn, are looking for some way they can both retire from their clandestine activities without jeopardizing themselves and the lives of those close to them.

Russell now has a wife and adopted daughter so the disengagement must be clean enough to protect these two loved ones. It takes a while before the two men find their 'ticket out' but once they realize what they have stumbled upon, they act quickly to take advantage of the situation.

It takes a while to set up the scenario which will involve Russell making multiple trips to the Czech city of Prague (hence the novel's title). When Russell learns of a damning film that involves an important Communist official engaged in less than exemplary activities, he realizes he holds the card that will obtain the freedom he craves. Of course, the trick is to not only obtain the film but also to be able to use it in a manner that will achieve the ends he and Shcheplkn desire.

If you have followed this series obviously you'll wish to see how Russell extricates himself from his double agent role. On the other hand, if you aren't familiar with John Russell that isn't to say you won't enjoy this novel.

Fortunately, the earlier stories are now available in paperback so you can go back and read the rest of the series if you wish. The odds are you'll probably want to!

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